Animal Love Lessons

Animal Love Lessons

Few things that the my favorite animals taught me about pure and primal love

When you are a relationship expert, it seems there is no escaping love lessons. Whether I go to a playground, the circus, the grocery store, or the laundromat, I'm always picking up jewels of relationship wisdom. But my visit to the San Diego Zoo this weekend may have trumped them all. Every stop along the way served up some sort of lesson in love. By studying the simplicity of our furry, feathered and scaly friends, I noticed how our complicated lives unnecessarily complicate our love lives. The animals at the zoo just get it. They have such an unpolluted way of taking care of themselves and of each other. Of course they don't have jobs, dreams, taxes to pay and a zillion other things that can distract them from focusing on what really matters, but even still I think it is worthwhile, to stop and observe the methods of a few favorite animals and see what learnings you can extract and apply to your own ways of love. To get you started, here are a few things that my favorite animals taught me about pure and primal love this weekend:

Orangutans prioritize play.

These red-haired, spaghetti-armed primates live to be silly. Constantly swinging from ropes, flipping over branches, playing peek a boo and tugging on each other’s beards just to crack a smile out of one other, these guys are always looking for a reason to have fun.

Love lesson learned: Relationships need a good dose of teasing, taunting and a lot of fun!

Ducks believe in loyalty.

One of the few monogamous creatures in the animal kingdom, family first is the motto of the duck. Whether on land or in water, ducks always stick together and appear to be harmonious while doing so. They wait for each other when one is slower, always looking out for each other's best interest.

Love lesson learned: Commitment is simply a decision to go the distance with your chosen one, no matter what.

Pandas snuggle for snuggle’s sake.

Of all the animals at the zoo, the pandas get the most oohs and aahs because they are the cuddliest. Constantly snuggling with each other, and not just at the baby stage, they appear to need the warmth offered when close to one another. That warmth projects outwards and can be felt between sets of bears.

Love lesson learned: Snuggling does the body and spirit good.

Monkeys appreciate sex!

The monkeys were in high heat this weekend, getting busy for their passerbys. No quarters needed for these cage shows either as these furry creatures were all about exhibitionist displays of love. Furthermore, they did not shy away from experimental positioning or dominant and submissive role sharing.

Love lesson learned: Free and frequent sex is a must!

Gorillas meditate daily.

During my ten-minute visit to the gorilla exhibit, the grown-ups were all in yoga-like poses, deeply meditating on who knows what. Perfectly peaceful, these amazing creatures were unfazed by the crowds and each other… until the two little ones came to flip over their ‘do not disturb’ signs, at which point the adults happily engaged with their children, seemingly recharged.

Love lesson learned: Members of a relationship need to be internally balanced and properly rejuvenated to be the best partner they can be.

Polar Bears place value on patience.

My visit included multiple feeding times and the polar bears (the most revered exhibit at this zoo) were inarguably the most patient . They waited calmly for their zookeeper and were kind upon being fed, taking each scrap delicately and appreciatively.

Love lesson learned: Good things are worth waiting for.

Giraffes are unselfish.

I watched a mama giraffe in all of her long-legged glory pass down leaves to her little-legged baby. On two instances she went to feed herself but her baby nudged at her wanting to be fed so she handed her, her leaves. The baby then nuzzled with the mama giraffe in appreciation.

Love lesson learned: When you truly someone, giving is oftentimes more of a gift than receiving.

Peacocks are honorable.

The peacocks at this zoo roam free and often in pairs. When a security vehicle turned a corner, the male peacock reactively fanned its beautiful feathers in all of their glory, protecting the female and announcing to the driver to stop until its lady could pass. An absolutely honorable and chivalrous display that melted my heart!

Love lesson learned: A lady should expect to be treated like a lady.

Hyenas understand forgiveness.

When food was tossed in the hyena pit, the two cats aggressively went after it – only one prevailed, leaving the other hungry and angry. Seconds later though the winner approached the loser, nuzzled noses in a seemingly ‘forgive and forget’ gesture and the two were friendly again, strolling the pit side by side.

Love lesson learned: Life is too short to hold grudges.

Birds offer space.

Among the great variety of birds I saw at the zoo, one commonality was that they gave each other needed space. They would visit on a common branch, communicate and then one would flee for alone time. The cycle would then repeat all over again.

Love lesson learned: Healthy relationships need time together and breathing room.

When the animals seem to have it all right, sort of makes you rethink the term "dating jungle"... perhaps we make it more complicated than it needs to be...

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Just Because I Check My Boyfriend's Location Every Hour Doesn't Make Me A 'Psycho Girlfriend'

No, checking his location every hour does not make me psycho.

My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for a few months now. He has come up with describing my actions sometimes as “psycho girlfriend.” As much as this bothered me at first I started to realize there is nothing wrong with my “psycho” actions.

I don’t monitor who my boyfriend hangs out with and I don’t care who he texts, I trust him, but I do watch other things he does.

I probably check his location about once an hour, maybe more if he isn’t texting me back.

This isn’t some way for me to find out if he is with another girl, it’s so I can ensure he isn’t dead in a ditch somewhere. If he was on Snapchat five minutes ago but hasn’t texted me back in 45 minutes, yeah I’ll call him out on it but I'm not actually mad. If he is with friends and not answering me, it’s cool. I just want to be able to make sure I know where he is and that he is alive on a regular basis.

I make him keep his read receipts on for me.

I don’t care if he leaves me on read, I just need to know he is seeing what I’m saying. Half the time, I text him random facts or thoughts I have throughout my day, those don’t always need a response back. However, I do want to know he is acknowledging me through reading my texts.

Yes, from time to time I will spam him and make him respond to my messages so we can make plans or I can know what he is doing with his day but it’s not like I plan out his every move for him or care if he is getting drunk with the boys on a Wednesday, not my issue.

I don’t ask for all of his time or anything. I know he is a busy person. All I ask for him to text me back on a regular basis (once an hour to be exact), for him to allow for me to know where he is at all times and to get one night a week with him.

I don’t plan to show up where he is or anything, I simply just like to know information and get a weekly time with him. I don’t care if I only see him that one night a week, I just want one night with a movie or dinner or snuggles so I can get my boyfriend time.

The rest of the time he is his own person, and I couldn’t really care less about what he does in that time.

Cover Image Credit: Grace Wilkowski

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Love Hurts When You Date The Wrong Person But Never Give Up On Love

Love can hurt when you aren't dating the right person for you, but that doesn't mean you should give up on love.

Many of our elders including parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, like to think that love during the teenage/young adult years (15-22) is nothing but "puppy love."

For some, this may be true but for others (including myself) I have found that relationships during this time can be an emotional roller-coaster that ultimately affects your life and your decisions.

My roller-coaster started when I was just a sophomore in high school. I have always deemed myself to be a bright individual with lots of personalities but for some reason, I enjoyed dipping my feet in the pond of bad boys.

I started dating a high-school dropout who I eventually dated for about 2 years with one of those years being behind my parents back.

I swore with every inch of my heart that this person was going to be my person for the rest of my life and I would have done anything to keep the "love" alive.

Of course, all of my friends, family, and loved ones thought I was absolutely insane for dating someone who was not only a high-school dropout but also a person (who lived in my neighborhood) who would often neglect to text me, call me, or hang out with me for weeks at a time while we were dating.

And, of course, I made up every excuse in the book as to why he acted this way.

I never saw with my own eyes how he completely failed to be attentive to me in every aspect of my life until about two years into the relationship. At this time I was not only at my breaking point but, I found myself with zero self-esteem, confidence, or motivation. My young mind had manipulated itself into thinking there was something wrong with me physically and mentally.

I had lost about 15-20 pounds because of this demoralizing mindset I was in.

Friends, family, my softball coach, parents of people who I played softball with or against started to notice my gauntness and asked me or my parents if I was okay or needed any help which was often times very embarrassing for me.

Simultaneously as my feelings for this boy were exponentially fading I met another boy (who graduated high school and attempted to go to college) who seemed to be everything I had not had for the past two years of my life.

In the first couple months of the relationship, everything was peaches and roses.

I had finally gained my confidence, self-esteem, and a little bit of weight back.

I had already known what college I was going to be attending when we began dating because I had committed to a University the year prior to playing softball.

Therefore, he also had previous knowledge of this, but when the summer started rolling in and conversations about long distance commenced so did the fights and arguments.

Since he had already gone away to college and experienced the type of atmosphere I was soon going to be indulging myself in, he knew everything that I would be exposed to, and it began eating him alive.

This fear of me going away turned into accusations of cheating, arguments about things that didn't even matter or make sense, and holes being punched in doors and walls.

Instead of evacuating myself from the relationship I turned into someone who didn't have my own thoughts or feelings because I was scared they would make my partner upset.

I turned into a robotic girlfriend walking on eggshells so that nothing I could have said, wore, or did could upset my "other half."

I escaped this relationship when I finally went to college and realized I no longer needed to put up with that type of behavior.

From that point on I built the Wall of China over my heart and boys became nothing but objects to me.

I was completely satisfied with being on my own and actually started to prefer it.

After about a year of being this way and not letting a single male even chip a piece of my bricked wall, I met Javier.

I could tell Javier was different from your typical dude, but I still would not allow myself to even remotely open up to him.

Instead, I took route friend zone and was entirely content with being one of the bros, growing up with a brother five years older than I, had molded me to be more like a bro anyway.

However, Javier had interest in me being way more than just that and I could see it, but never acknowledged it.

After four or five months of hanging out and Javier still never even bringing up the fact that he was more than just interested in me, and ever try to make a move on me, I started to think "Wow I've never met a guy so respectful and thoughtful as to not even care to make a move, but rather just happy to be in my presence."

A couple weeks after, thoughts like these started to develop, so did my feelings for Javier.

I have never met someone who listens, communicates, and endlessly tries to ensure that I am radiating with love and happiness at all times.

I have never met someone who would go to the end of time to guarantee that my life is made easier in every way.

I have never met someone that is so mindful of the way I may feel about their actions and words.

I have never met someone that communicates so deliberately that it makes it impossible to have an argument.

I have never met someone like my true love, Javier.

So, no matter how many times you try and fail:

pick yourself up,

learn from your mistakes,

NEVER give up on love,

and you too, will find your Javier.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Stiles

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